Seattle city attorney: Challenge your pot smoking ticket

SEATTLE - The city's chief attorney says 66 people ticketed for public marijuana smoking by a single Seattle officer should contest those citations.

City Attorney Peter Holmes says the tickets written by Officer Randy Jokela were issued mostly to homeless people, and often featured handwritten notations by Officer Jokela mocking Holmes and the legal pot law.

On some of the tickets, Jokela hand-wrote the words "Attention 'Petey' Holmes," an apparent reference to Holmes' vocal support for voter-approved Initiative 502.

"Apparently, in order to poke at me, (Jokela) had to necessarily write up homeless people," Holmes told KOMO Newsradio. He said using citations as a soapbox "is just completely improper."

Jokela is currently under investigation by the Seattle Police Office of Professional Accountability. Records show the bicycle officer has written 80 percent of all public pot smoking citations since I-502 passed: 66 out of a total of 83.

Jokela also wrote on one citation that he flipped a coin to decide which of two offenders would receive a ticket.

"It's pretty clear if Officer Jokela wrote these, then there's a question about the purpose, and about whether they're issued in good faith," Holmes said. He adds those questions will be resolved in the OPA investigation.

Meanwhile, Holmes says anyone in Seattle who has been issued a citation for illegally smoking marijuana should request a hearing to contest that ticket, whether or not Jokela wrote the ticket.

"Other than Officer Jokela's participation and particular vendetta he seemed to have for me, I'm not sure what the circumstances are for all the tickets written to date," Holmes said.